While in the US, the women’s suffrage movement was percolating along to its 1920 conclusion, the movement in Great Britain was also making strides. Several early 20th century Americans, including Alice Paul, journeyed to England to watch, learn, and participate. The film takes place in pre-first world war London.
Excerpt from one UK reviewer:
Reuniting with Brick Lane director Sarah Gavron, [scriptwriter] Abi Morgan intertwines socioeconomic detail with domestic melodrama as Maud leads us from the fringes of the fight to the firing line, her composite character providing a thumbnail sketch of collective oppression into which Mulligan breathes admirable individuality. Meryl Streep provides a fleetingly aloof cameo as Emmeline Pankhurst, rallying the troops from the balcony before disappearing into the night, but the real firebrand is Helena Bonham Carter as chemist Edith Ellyn, who provides the movement’s combustible spark.
Steamy sweatshops and grey-tinged London vistas add production design grit, evoking a world in which backbreaking work and strength-sapping silence are equally stifling. This is an important story and Suffragette tells it without stylistic fuss or frills in solidly down-the-line fashion.